Man faces up to 25 years after ‘cowardly’ attack at Crown casino left man dead

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Within 13 seconds, Luke Francis’ life was taken away in a random and unprovoked beating outside Crown casino.

The 29-year-old concreter was about to start his dream job, but instead, on what should have been his first day of work, his family turned off his life support.

Tyson Armstrong has no reason for why he attacked Francis, as they walked out of the Melbourne casino’s food court in March 2022.

He had been drinking at a barbecue meat festival before going out to Crown that evening with his friends.

Francis had been taught to walk away from fights and did not retaliate when Armstrong grabbed him from behind after midnight on March 26.

Armstrong put both hands around Francis’ chest and neck, pushing him into some railing and then punched his face twice.

Tyson Armstrong, 28, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and faced a pre-sentence hearing on Monday.Credit: Nine News

“You can’t handle me, I’m too big for you,” Armstrong said before he walked off, according to a witness.

Francis, whose girlfriend tried to intervene, collapsed after the 13-second beating and was taken to hospital with bleeding on his brain.

Medical specialists pronounced him brain-dead, and two days after the attack, he died in hospital from the head injuries.

Armstrong, 28, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and faced a pre-sentence hearing on Monday, when dozens of Francis’ family and friends filled the courtroom and spoke of their heartache over his death.

The mother of Luke Francis, Michelle Harris, outside the Supreme Court on Monday.Credit: Nine News

His mother, Michelle Harris, said her world crashed down around her when she was handed a blue box holding Francis’ ashes.

“I gave him life and it was taken away in seconds for no reason at all,” she told the Supreme Court through tears.

“What I don’t understand is how can someone have so much rage and anger over someone you don’t even know? It’s disgusting.

“A senseless, unwarranted, unprovoked and cowardly act took my son.”

Luke Francis, 29, died after a random and unprovoked attack outside Crown casino in March 2022.Credit: Nine News

Emily Harris said her big brother was due to start his “dream career” concreting on the West Gate Tunnel on March 28, the same day the family switched off his life support.

“Such a kind, loving, selfless, beautiful person that did not deserve this happening to him,” she said.

Armstrong’s barrister, Carly Marcs, said her client grew up around violence and would often get involved in physical fights with friends and family.

She said Armstrong was drunk and believed Francis was a threat to him, even though Francis was walking away and did not engage in the fight.

“Mr Armstrong is not a monster, but generally someone who has certainly become something resembling a monster when two significant factors are present,” she said.

“Alcohol and a male who he perceives, through his warped perception, as instigating violence or stepping towards him in some way that he perceives to be threatening in some way.”

Armstrong is facing up to 25 years in prison.

The hearing before Justice Andrew Tinney continues.


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